As a Christian I have no problem with anyone choosing a political party to represent their religion. However, with the recent incidents permeating the media involving the Republican party and its Christian associates, I have found reason to illuminate a fallacy that many might not be aware that “red state-Christians” and their “conservative Christianity” is not truly representative of Christianity.
The Republican Party is not doing so hot these days, with the Mark Foley scandal, the racist political advertisements running on Tennessee television and the Bush administration’s idiosyncrasies.
Which means that Christianity is not doing well either – at least its image is not, seeing that Republicans generally claim to be the party that represents Christians. And people, Christian or not, accept this representation as being true.
I am not saying that voting conservatively is bad or wrong, I lean right on certain issues, but the mentality and ideologies some of these people live by is horrendously hypocritical.
These are usually people from rural areas lacking diversity and thus tolerance for minorities. They are usually from wealthy areas lacking concerns for the poor.
These are often very religiously zealous areas lacking tolerance for anyone disagreeing with their doctrines and creeds.
These are the people standing outside abortion clinics protesting with rage, holding up cardboard signs, with voices indignant at the procedures undertaken by doctors willing enough to do it.
These are also the people who, when an abortion doctor is killed, say they did it in the name of God. I do not approve of how these people claim to be Christians and yet flagellate themselves socially when displaying cruel and hateful fervor about certain issues.
I am talking about issues such as racism, poverty and immigration. These are the issues that these Republican voting, conservative-minded people tend to either marginalize or display a warped and very unchristian-like mentality about.
As a disclaimer for my bias conservative reader ready to debate and rebuke me, I am not saying all Christians are Republicans, and even those who are do not necessarily display these vices. Nor are all the people who do display these vices or those who oppose these vices are Christians.
My qualm is with those who claim to represent Christianity yet they support politicians, propositions and ideologies that marginalize others when Jesus’ life and words called for the opposite.
Some may be reading this and think it is a partisan piece but if any Bible reader looks at the recent events in the news, they could see that the Republican Party and some of its Christian claims are deceptive.
In Time Magazine’s Oct. 16, 2006 issue, an article was written by David Kuo about how he felt betrayed by the Republicans in the White House and how he became disillusioned about the role religion can play in politics. Here’s an excerpt: “I was deputy director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. The office had opened in the West Wing in 2001 to support the President’s campaign promise of $8 billion a year in new (funding) for both religious and secular charities that helped the poor. That money never materialized?”
Kuo goes on to detail how the senior staff “mocked the plan as the f***ing faith-based initiative,” and how the staff of the White House “privately derided evangelical Christians because they were so easily seduced by White House power.”
Conservatives love to vote for these Republicans because they supposedly represent Christianity.
But, wait, I am not done.
What about the recent refusal of Rev. Joel Hunter, the president-elect of the Christian Coalition, to take position because he said the organization would not let him expand its agenda beyond opposing abortion and gay marriage?
He was quoted in the media saying, “They pretty much said, ‘These issues are fine, but they’re not our issues, that’s not our base.'”
Not their base? The Bible has a plethora of admonitions and exhortations encouraging Christians to take care of the poor. But I guess these poor people should pull themselves up by their own boot straps.
And this is red-state Christianity.
These are conservative Jesus followers.
But Jesus commended taking care of the poor, underprivileged and the foreigner.
But who are conservatives known for ignoring?
What issues and people do they tend to look upon with haughty eyes?
I am not imploring what some call “liberal Christianity.” There is definitely a balance and flip side to these issues, but if Tom and Mark do not ask me what I personally believe about their sexual relationship, then who am I to stand on the street and scream at them?
If they come to church, hear someone preaching about it or ask me what I think, then the blame is on Tom and Mark – because just like they have the free will to believe and do what they will, others do, too.
Not just that, but who am I to treat Tom and Mark like scum because I hold different views than them?
I want people to understand that this red state Christianity is not Christianity at all – rather, it’s pseudo-Christianity.
And this pseudo-Christianity does not represent the essence of the Christian religion, just like the crusades of the Middle Ages did not represent it and just like Muslim extremist do not represent Islam as a whole.
I am not saying all Republicans are racist, greedy, narrow-minded individuals who abhor the poor, and I could write an article extricating the vices and mores of the Democratic Party and its representatives.
But the Democrats do not claim to represent Christianity.